What are some solid ways to do customer development for a startup?
On the tactical side, I developed a classification system for Contacts and Call Outcomes:
- “A” Contacts: Personal and professional friends. People I’ve known and worked with in the past; people who I know will take my call and make time for me.
- “B” Contacts: People I’ve met in person or have had an extended phone conversation or two, and with whom I’ve actively kept in touch; also includes introductions from “A” contacts.
- “C” Contacts: People I’ve met once or twice (i.e. at a conference, as part of a group presentation) and who may not remember me even though I remember them.
- “D” Contacts: People who don’t know me at all.
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- Outcome 1: Real Customer Development conversions. These are generally appointments established from previous calls/emails.
- Outcome 2: Outbound calls during which I talk to the prospect, and we agree to set a definitive time to have a true Customer Development conversation (i.e. Type 1 call is now set).
- Outcome 3: Outbound calls that go to voicemail, followed by a personalized email to the person, AND the person returns my call/email.
- Outcome 4: Outbound calls that go to voicemail, followed by a personalized email to the person, but no return call/email received yet.
- Leftovers: Call backs and emails from previous days’ calling efforts to scrape up more appointments.
Here are a three posts I did on consecutive days around a burst of customer development calls using this system and the results:
- Eating my own dog food
- More Customer Development – My dog food tastes better today
- Hooray! I got a D!
**This Q&A article was originally posted on Quora. Check out Scott’s Quora page here.